September 19, 2012
Scientists Develop New Ultrathin, Flat Lens
Scientists are reporting development of a revolutionary new lens – flat, distortion-free, so small that more than 1,500 would fit across the width of a human hair – capable in the future of replacing lenses in applications ranging from cell phones to cameras to fiber-optic communication systems. The advance, which could lead to smart phones as thin as a credit card, appears in ACS' journal Nano Letters.
Federico Capasso and colleagues explain that the lenses used to focus light in eyeglasses, microscopes and other products use the same basic technology dating to the late 1200s, when spectacle lenses were introduced in Europe. Existing lenses are not thin or flat enough to remove distortions, such as spherical aberration, astigmatism and coma, which prevent the creation of a sharp image. Correction of those distortions requires complex solutions, such as multiple lenses that increase weight and take up space. To overcome these challenges, the scientists sought to develop a new superthin, flat lens.
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